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Monday, July 28, 2014

How Can a Virginia Registered Sex Offender Attend Their Child’s School Sponsored Activities?


A common theme seems to repeat itself every year as we approach “Back to School” season. 

v      I want to be able to drop and pick my child/children from school.
v      I am a single parent so I need to be able to drop and pick my child/children from school.
v      My child/children want me to attend their basketball, soccer, baseball, football games, is there any way to?
v      My child/children want me to attend their band, choir, orchestra, drama class production, is there any way to?
v      My child/children want me to attend their award ceremony, is there any way to?
v      My child is graduating from high school this year, how can I attend the graduation ceremony? 


Per the below Virginia Code:
§ 18.2-370.2. - Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children; penalty. “Loitering
§ 18.2-370.5. - Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property; penalty.  

Anyone convicted of:
·         § 18.2-47. Abduction and kidnapping defined; punishment, subsection A
·         § 18.2-48. Abduction with intent to extort money or for immoral purpose, clause (ii) or (iii)
·         § 18.2-361. Crimes against nature, subsection B
·         § 18.2-366. Adultery and fornication by persons forbidden to marry; incest, subsection B
·         where the victim of one of the foregoing offenses was a minor, or (ii) subsection A (iii) of
Ø       § 18.2-61. Rape
Ø       § 18.2-63. Carnal knowledge of child between thirteen and fifteen years of age
Ø       § 18.2-64.1. Carnal knowledge of certain minors
·         subdivision A 1 of
Ø       § 18.2-67.1. Forcible sodomy
Ø       § 18.2-67.2. Object sexual penetration; penalty
·         subdivision A 1 or A 4 (a) of
Ø       § 18.2-67.3. Aggravated sexual battery
Ø       § 18.2-370. Taking indecent liberties with children
Ø       § 18.2-370.1. Taking indecent liberties with child by person in custodial or supervisory relationship
·         clause (ii) of
Ø       § 18.2-371. Causing or encouraging acts rendering children delinquent, abused, etc.; penalty; abandoned infant
Ø       § 18.2-374.1. Production, publication, sale, financing, etc., of child pornography; presumption as to age
Ø       § 18.2-374.1:1. Possession, reproduction, distribution, solicitation, and facilitation of child pornography
Ø       § 18.2-379. Employing or permitting minor to assist in offense under article
·         § 18.2-472.1. Providing false information or failing to provide registration information 

........is automatically and legally prohibited from being on school property or attending any school-sponsored event even if it's held at a college stadium, city conference center, museum, library, grocery store or restaurant. It's a felony!

Most if not all school districts in Virginia have a process to allow a Registered Sex Offender (RSO) parent or guardian to petition the court to acquire a court order allowing them on school property and/or to attend school-sponsored functions.  
 
The process takes a few months and you will need to hire an attorney and possible a treatment provider to evaluate your risk but I have heard from numerous parents who have been successful with the process. 

Be prepared, the school district (superintendent and/or school board) may not be supportive, they may oppose your request. But if win, you’ll have the ability to attend your children’s school-sponsored events and pick them up and drop them off at school. 

If you are successful and you are allowed to be on school property there will be strict rules you must abide by and if you don’t your court order will be revoked, permanently.  

Also, if your child changes schools (including proceeding from elementary to middle school or from middle to high school) or you move (changing district’s) you will have to go through the entire court process again BEFORE you can be on school property or attend school sponsored events off-school property. 

Finally on the topic of being on school property, NOT during school hours AND NOT for school sponsored events. 

Here are some examples:
·         Church services held in the school auditorium or cafeteria on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed.
·         A flu-shot clinic held on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed.
·         A local government meeting or political party meeting held on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed.
·         A drive through recycling event or prescription turn-in event held on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed.
·         A private dance troupe or karate completion on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed. (These organizations may have a policy against RSO parents or grandparents attending events, so you need to look into their regulations).
·         A recreational group, youth group or church group basketball, football, baseball, soccer, field hockey, track, swimming, etc event/game on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed. (These organizations may have a policy against RSO parents or grandparents attending events, so you need to look into their regulations).
·         A Boy Scout or Girl Scout award ceremony on school property on an evening, weekend or holiday is allowed. (These organizations may have a policy against RSO parents or grandparents attending events, so you need to look into their regulations). 

Unless you are on Probation. If you are on Probation you must abide by any rules set fourth by your Probation Officer in writing which could include a prohibited from being where minors gather completely (even if not convicted of any of the above crimes)  or a prohibition from being on school property at ANY time. 

I hope I’ve covered everyone’s concerns and questions on the topic of school property. And for anyone who has not yet petition for access to their children’s school to be part of their lives, you should! 

Good luck and let me know how it goes. 

By the way, Virginia law does not prohibit any RSO from being on college or university property or from attending a college or university sponsored event in case you were wondering. 

Mary Devoy
 

Disclaimer:
I strive to provide accurate and current information but I am NOT an attorney or a legal resource.
You should always consult with a Virginia attorney when you are unsure about your restrictions.
You can also contact the Virginia State Police Sex Offender Task Force with questions (804) 674-2825, but they are not liable for giving incorrect or out-dated information to those making inquires.